Today in Islamophobia

A daily list of headlines about Islamophobia
compiled by the Bridge Initiative

Each day, the Bridge Initiative aims to bring you the news you need to know about Islamophobia. This resource will be updated every weekday at approximately 11:00 AM EST.

Today in Islamophobia Newsletter

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04 Nov 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., right-wing Republicans and some Muslims in the city of Dearborn have joined forces to protest the inclusion of LGBTQ+ books, despite previous Islamophobic comments from several of the conservative organizers, meanwhile, a former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is collaborating with an anti-Muslim hate group on a new project aimed at fearmongering about the Southern border, and in the United Kingdom, PM Rishi Sunak has been “urged to appoint a new ethics adviser to tackle the ‘disgraceful’ delay to an investigation into alleged Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. Our recommended read of the day is by Mohamed Kozbar for Middle East Eye on how Islamophobia is a structural issue that should be dealt with at an institutional level. This and more below.

United Kingdom

03 Nov 2022

UK: Why Muslims must rethink the approach to ending Islamophobia | Recommended Read

Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) is once again upon us, and as with previous years, this month encourages us to raise awareness of the threat of Islamophobia and its impact on Muslims across the UK. For those directly involved in community work and those like myself that identify as Muslim, this month is a dire reminder that not much has changed. If anything, things have only gotten worse with Muslims being the target of almost half of all recorded religious hate crimes, according to a Census 2021 report from the Home Office. Islamophobic offences recorded against Muslims reached 42 percent of all recorded religious hate crimes across the country with over 3,000 recorded incidents by the police. And that’s not to speak of the structural Islamophobia embedded in institutions like our media and some politicians who whip up hatred against Muslims that justify the attacks we receive and contribute to the climate of fear that we find ourselves in that makes occasions like IAM a necessary event to mark each year. Every 12 months, we find ourselves repeating the same ritualistic cycle of statements by political figures promising to stamp out Islamophobia, awareness events and exhibitions by Muslim groups, and social media campaigns to highlight the impact of Islamophobia on Muslims, only for the situation to get worse. So where are we going wrong? The fact of the matter is, we need to rethink our approach to tackling this issue. Put simply, a structural issue like Islamophobia, which should be dealt with at an institutional level, is instead being managed by the community, with the brunt of the work falling on mosques, community workers, local councillors, and other community organisations and groups. read the complete article

03 Nov 2022

Cabinet Minister Against Islamophobia Definition Addresses ‘Dark Money’ Lobbying Group Tied to Extremist Organisations

Two Government officials – Communities Secretary Michael Gove and the Independent reviewer of the Prevent strategy William Shawcross – addressed a profit-making lobbying group in September, the directors and shareholders of which are tied to racist, anti-Muslim and antisemitic pro-Trump hate groups in both the UK and US. This week, the Government decided to stop working on an official definition of Islamophobia – something it committed to three years ago. Byline Times’ investigation suggests that this decision is the result of pressure from a lobbying group linked to US far-right ‘dark money’ bound up with the Republican Party. On 6 September, Gove – who was appointed Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary last month – spoke at an event organised by the Counter Extremism Group (CEG), a think tank founded by Robin Simcox and Hannah Stuart. He was joined by William Shawcross, who is in charge of reviewing the Government’s controversial strategy to prevent violent extremism. During the event, Gove opposed the idea of creating a “precise definition” of Islamophobia which could be used “to police what people can say in order to penalise them for it”. read the complete article

03 Nov 2022

Exclusive: Rishi Sunak Urged To Appoint Ethics Tsar Amid Delay To Islamophobia Probe

Rishi Sunak has been urged to appoint a new ethics adviser to tackle the “disgraceful” delay to an investigation into alleged Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. Earlier this year Tory MP Nusrat Ghani claimed she was sacked as a minister after being told by the then chief whip, Mark Spencer, that her “Muslimness” was “making colleagues uncomfortable”. Spencer — who has now been appointed farming minister under Sunak — has strongly denied the allegations, calling them “defamatory”. On hearing Ghani’s claims, former prime minister Boris Johnson announced a full Cabinet Office probe to “establish the facts”. But last month, cabinet secretary Simon Case admitted the investigation remains “outstanding”. And despite Downing Street committing to appointing a new ethics adviser last month to replace the two that departed under Johnson, one has yet to be chosen. HuffPost UK can reveal that Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner and party chair Anneliese Dodds have written to Case to demand “full transparency” on the status of the probe. read the complete article

03 Nov 2022

NUS president plans to fight dismissal over antisemitism claims

“Ms Dallali rejects the findings of the disciplinary panel, as she rejected the allegations. “She considers the [investigation] process to have constituted – and that it continues to constitute – discriminatory treatment of her as a black Muslim woman and her beliefs concerning the plight of the Palestinian people,” the statement said. "Both before and during her tenure as president. Ms Dallali has repeatedly made clear her opposition to and all forms of racism, including antisemitism, while continuing to campaign to denounce the plight of the Palestinian people.” Dallali’s cause was backed by the Muslim Council of Britain, which said the NUS’s decision was “deeply troubling”. “Those calling for her summary dismissal, in concert with those who have enacted this decision, have little to say about the deluge of Islamophobic abuse directed at Shaima. “Many Muslim students fear the Islamophobia they face on campus. This decision will only heighten those fears and raise questions about their place within the NUS. They are owed an explanation,” the MCB said. The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) said the NUS “is no longer an organisation that take Muslims or Islamophobia seriously”. read the complete article

United States

03 Nov 2022

Michigan GOP denigrated Muslims before courting them over ban on books

On Sunday, conservative Republicans and some Muslim advocates held a “Unite America” rally in Dearborn, a heavily Democratic city that conservatives have long neglected because of the heavy presence of Islam. Some of the Republicans who gathered in Dearborn have a history of making Islamophobic remarks and surrounding themselves with anti-Muslim zealots. But that didn’t stop the far-right reactionaries from trying to score political points among Muslims ahead of the Nov. 8 election. Among those featured at the rally were secretary of state candidate Kristina Karamo, attorney general hopeful Matt DePerno, and Michigan GOP Co-Chair MeShawn Maddock. Karamo, a conspiracy theorist with a reputation for indulging in Christian nationalism, has described Islam as oppressive and violent. In a 2018 podcast, Karamo and a guest spent more than 50 minutes criticizing the Muslim Brotherhood and Muhammad, the founder of Islam whom Karamo called a sexual predator. “Some of the things Muhammad did teach was it’s OK to rape. It’s OK to have a sex slave,” Karamo said. “People think many folks are just saying these things. It’s really true. He did teach that this type of behavior is permissible.” In a video in 2018, Karamo said Islam is fundamentally violent. “Oftentimes the media paints this picture that Islam is a peaceful religion,” Karamo said in a 2018 video. “You can survey Islamic countries and say that is not the case. Name one Islamic country where a religious minority and women aren’t persecuted. I’ll wait.” Maddock and her husband, state Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, also have a history of making anti-Muslim comments and speaking out against Muslim refugees. read the complete article

03 Nov 2022

Former ICE Chief Taps Anti-Muslim Hate Group To Help Run Border-Focused Project

Tom Homan, a former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and prominent conservative media figure, is collaborating with an anti-Muslim hate group on a new project aimed at fearmongering about the U.S. Southern border. The project held a fundraising event at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Nov. 1. The project, Defend the Border and Save Lives, is a media and promotional endeavor tied to Homan’s personal brand and a book of his with the same title. A Hatewatch review of the project’s website revealed it is closely tied to The United West, an SPLC-designated anti-Muslim hate group. This includes sharing an address and staff with the anti-Muslim group. One of the main figures working with Homan on the project is Tom Trento, founder and director of The United West, a group that has been stoking anti-Muslim hate for over a decade. Trento and his group have claimed the U.S. and West are at war with Muslims and Islam. In a 2015 email around the anniversary of 9/11, Trento wrote, “I knew all my years of academic work in Islam and related areas of law enforcement and activism would be required in what will be an extended, vicious, deadly, horrible war in a clash of two incompatible civilizations, the Judeo-Christian West and Islam.” In 2013, Trento’s web show spread an Islamophobic conspiracy theory claiming that John Brennan, former President Obama’s then-nominee to run the CIA, was a secret Muslim. read the complete article

03 Nov 2022

CAIR-MN receives bomb threat after denouncing biased Waite Park assault

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on local, state and federal law enforcement authorities Wednesday to investigate an online threat the chapter received to firebomb its office. The threat called on CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein to retract a statement he made in October welcoming bias charges against an Ogilvie woman who was charged with assaulting a Black man while using racial slurs in Waite Park last month. “Retract this statement, and acknowledge that the work you do is absurd, or you and your offices will be firebombed next Saturday,” the message read. Hussein and other members of CAIR-MN hosted a press conference in September after two people broke into the Islamic Center in St. Cloud and vandalized the space. Logan Oliver Smith, 23, of Rogers, and Victoria Catalina Veliz, 25, of New Hope, were arrested on felony burglary charges and the incident is being investigated as a bias-motivated crime. The attack came as the second on a mosque in Minnesota within a week, and the fifth attack this year. read the complete article

03 Nov 2022

What the Far-Right Fringe Online Is Planning for Election Day

If the attack on Paul Pelosi last week brought the threat of the far-right fringe back into national headlines, the people who monitor extremists online had already been seeing warning signs headed into the U.S. midterm elections. Talk of rigged races, conspiracy theories, and instructions for “monitoring” certain polls have proliferated on message boards and other forums, sometimes stoked by the candidates themselves. When Lindsay Schubiner was a staffer on the Hill almost a decade ago, she watched these fringe groups—particularly anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim social movements—grow more mainstream. Now, as the program director for Momentum, the Western States Center’s program focused on countering white nationalism, she monitors internet chatter among those and other groups, including their efforts to organize. For the past several weeks, she’s watched them plan ahead of the election, attempting to recruit and sow misinformation before voting even begins, including one plan to have people stand outside ballot drop boxes in as many as 18 states. read the complete article

03 Nov 2022

Guantanamo Bay languishes in limbo as world moves on from 9/11

The War on Terror may have faded from the memory of many, but some of its weapons remain. Heading the list of remnants is the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. The camp epitomises the decision by the Bush Administration to militarise counter-terrorism in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 and to operate, in the words of Vice President Dick Cheney, ‘through … the dark side’. Cheney’s ‘dark side’ included ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’, which President Barack Obama later referred to as ‘torture’, ‘black prison sites’, ‘targeted killings’, and imprisonments and interrogations at Guantanamo Bay, a tiny bit of Cuba leased to the United States since 1903. It was selected as a means, unsuccessfully as it would turn out, of avoiding American courts and became the destination of hundreds of prisoners from January 2002 until 2007, including Paracha, Moazzam Begg from Birmingham, and Mohamedou Ould Slahi whose story would become a BAFTA-nominated film. At its peak, the total reached 780 detainees; to date, 732 have been released without charge. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 04 Nov 2022 Edition


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